It’s time. The Minnesota Lynx continued quest to become the first to five championships is now officially mapped out! Let’s take a peek at their official 2022 schedule.
The first thing you may likely notice is that there appears to more games on this schedule than usual. Well, that’s because there is. The WNBA has decided to expand their regular season to 36 games per team which is 4 more than last season and 2 more than the typical pre-pandemic seasons.
The league will also continue to host the in-season Commissioner’s Cup feature. The first ever winner of this “cup” was the Seattle Storm while the Lynx finished just 1 game short from stealing Seattle’s spot for the final game.
You may also notice a few instances where Minnesota is slotted to play a handful of teams twice in a row. This “series” format is a new step that the W is taking to reduce the amount of travel for teams. The Lynx have 3 of these series: @ New York Liberty (early June), vs. Las Vegas Aces (early July), and vs. Connecticut Sun (late July). The latter two series are against the only two teams that finished above the Lynx in the 2021 final standings.
May: The Lynx were hampered by an 0-4 start last season so I imagine Coach Reeve has made it a point to avoid a repeat of that same mistake in 2022. Their initial 9-game month features a fairly even 4 games at home and 5 on the road. Of course, they open the season against one of their fellow 4-championship rivals, the Seattle Storm. Later that month, they embark on a 5-day, 3-game road trip out west before returning home. The majority of the month is checkered with a few other tough matchups, but it may be their easiest of the season. By my (mediocre at best) opinion, Minnesota’s level of competition for May looks something like this:
- Vs. championship contenders: 3
- Vs. playoff teams: 2
- Vs. non-playoff teams: 4
June: The next month will be the the Lynx most traveled month of the season. They will get 6 games on the road and 5 at home. It should be a relatively calm start as they get the Atlanta Dream, New York Liberty (twice), Washington Mystics, then Indiana Fever. These games will be important for them to win. Why? Because they follow it up with a gruesome stretch against the Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces, Phoenix Mercury (twice), then close against the defending champion Chicago Sky. Yikes.
- Vs. championship contenders: 5
- Vs. playoff teams: 3
- Vs. non-playoff teams: 3
July: Probably desperate for some home-cooking, Minnesota finally gets an extended home stretch that spans 18 days to start their first 5 games of July (6 if you date back to the end of June) . The Lynx will need to really bring it during that stretch though, as that homestand includes games against Las Vegas (twice), Chicago, and Phoenix. Their total home-away count for this month is a favorable 7 to 4. Their final two games of the month against the Atlanta Dream and Las Angeles Sparks will hopefully provide some momentum before they hit their most difficult run to end the season in August.
- Vs. championship contenders: 6
- Vs. playoff teams: 1
- Vs. non-playoff teams: 4
August: Last season, the Lynx closed their season with the wind in their sails. They were able to surprisingly lock up the 3-seed (and a 1st round bye) thanks to a 4-game win streak that featured all non-playoff teams, including three contests against the hapless Indiana Fever. Things certainly look much different this season. In their 5 games in August, they roll the Storm (twice), Dream, Mercury, and Sun. Aside from their game against Atlanta and one of the Seattle games, the other 3 are all on the road. A murderous stretch that will certainly test Coach Reeve’s squad heading into the postseason.
- Vs. championship contenders: 4
- Vs. playoff teams: 0
- Vs. non-playoff teams: 1
There you have it. The guide to the playoffs is out and it’s up to Minnesota (and Team USA) Head Coach Cheryl Reeve to deliver the goods. There’s still plenty of important things to figure out before the season begins though. The Lynx have 4 picks in the 2022 WNBA draft, including 2 of the first 13. Free agency will also be extremely important, especially given the news that Napheesa Collier will likely to miss a big portion of the season and the looming question of whether or not Sylvia Fowles will be returning to Minnesota.
We here at Canis Hoopus will bring you all the news, updates, and breakdowns! Until then...